Why Hire a Book Editor? Top 8 Most Impactful Reasons

Posted on Jun 27, 2024

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Written by Nicole Ahlering

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Publishing a book without a professional editor is like growing a garden without weeding. No matter how beautiful the fruits of your labor, they’ll always be overshadowed. 

In this article, we’ll explain why we encourage our authors to take advantage of professional editing (and why you should too). 

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1. You need a fresh, objective perspective on your manuscript

You’ve spent a long time working on your book. No matter how long of a break you take before editing it—and yes, you should self-edit before handing it to a professional—you’ll never come to your writing with “new” eyes. That means you’ll likely glaze over mistakes, unconsciously fill in missing information in your head, and more. 

So can’t you have a loved one take a look at it for you, you ask? You can! It’s a good idea to have a few trusted people look at your writing before you proceed with a professional editor. But chances are, these folks will not be as objective (re: ruthless) as you need them to be to get the best version of your manuscript. 

That’s where a pro comes in.  An editor not only comes to your book with brand-new eyes, but they’re skilled in giving critical but necessary feedback with finesse. 

2. Editing is a professional skill

Editing is one of those jobs people think they can just do, without experience or training. We hate to break it to ya, but just because you notice typos in the news doesn’t make you an editor. 

A good, professional editor has an arsenal of finely-tuned skills that most writers don’t, including an advanced knowledge of grammar and style, broad literary knowledge, and a keen awareness of current publishing trends. 

Moreover, they know how to refine your writing for things you may not have even considered, like subtle redundancies, subtext, and even culturally sensitive topics

You need all of those things to produce a best-selling book

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3. You get a built-in teacher

Editing is a collaborative act. Your editor will, of course, explain any changes they make to your manuscript and help you learn the ins and outs of making your writing shine. In other words, you’re getting a free mini-education on how to make your next book even better, for no additional fee. 

4. Editors help with more than just spelling and grammar

What is the purpose of book editing, in your mind? If you envision someone with a red pen crossing out misspellings and grammar mistakes, it’s time to update your definition of an editor! 

Professional editors offer a range of services, like manuscript critiques, fact-checking, developmental editing, and more.  Think of them less like typo-correctors and more like the shapers and polishers of your manuscript. They’re that important! To learn more about what kinds of editing you need (and when), read our article on types of editing

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5. Editors establish authority

At selfpublishing.com, we’ve worked with over 7,000 authors, and many of them have one goal: they want to establish authority in their field. That’s a great reason to write a book and an even better reason to hire an editor! 

Here’s the thing: no matter how impactful your message is, folks will look right past it if your writing contains errors, your syntax is sloppy, or there are other issues with the quality of your manuscript. More than that, they’re likely to have a lower opinion of you than before they read your book. That’s a pretty poor outcome for something you’ve invested so heavily in. 

If you want to be respected in your field, an editor is an indispensable partner in making it happen. 

6. Without an editor, your message can get lost

You know what you’re trying to say. That doesn’t mean everyone else does. We all can fall victim to “the curse of knowledge:” a bias that makes it hard to teach people what we know, precisely because we know it so well! 

It’s hard to put yourself in the mindset of someone who knows little about a topic you’re an expert on. You’d be surprised how often brilliant folks have big information gaps in their manuscripts, simply because it doesn’t occur to them that their readers don’t have that information. 

To avoid this, an editor is imperative. Even if you hire an editor who is specialized in your field, they’ve got the skills to suss out where your message is being diluted—and to help you make it stronger. 

7. Your editor is likely well-connected

Ask anyone you admire about their achievements and they’ll likely point to networking as a key to their success. In a world of machines, relationships reign supreme. And guess who’s got a lot of excellent relationships in the book world? That’s right! Your friendly neighborhood editor. 

Think about it. Professional editors have worked with tons of brilliant clients. They likely meet folks at industry events and conferences, and many have relationships with publishers. Forming a genuine connection with your editor may unlock doors for you in the future. Another bonus! 

8. You’ll save time and money in the long run

We won’t sugarcoat it: a good editor is an investment. But oh man, does it have a good return. When you work with a professional editor, you’ll get a high-quality manuscript that’s likely to be well-received by readers, which leads to more sales. 

Great editing makes your book more marketable, prevents the potential cost of revising down the line, and saves you countless hours of polishing the book yourself (with your limited perspective and skillset). 

A well-edited manuscript also preserves your professional reputation by preventing any incorrect or offensive content, and can reap dividends in your career. These things, of course, are priceless. 

Final thoughts

Is it worth hiring an editor? Unquestionably, yes. You, as a writer, are excellent at what you do. But here’s the tough love: you are (probably) not great at what editors do. And that’s fine! They have a different skill set. You grow the flowers. They do the weeding. The result is something beautiful. 

Not sure when to hire your editor, we can help! Take our free publishing path assessment to get started: 

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Why to Hire a Book Editor FAQ

Why do you need a book editor?

A book editor provides a fresh, objective perspective on your manuscript. They can spot mistakes and issues that you might miss because you’re too close to your work. Editors also have the skills to refine your writing, making it more polished and professional.

Should I hire an editor for my book?

Yes, hiring an editor is crucial for producing a high-quality book. An editor will help improve your manuscript by offering critical feedback, correcting grammar and style issues, and ensuring your message is clear and engaging.

What is the purpose of book editing?

The purpose of book editing is to improve the overall quality of your manuscript. This includes correcting grammar and spelling errors, refining the structure and flow of the narrative, and enhancing the clarity and impact of your message. Editing ensures your book is professional and well-received by readers.

What does a book editor actually do?

A book editor offers a range of services, including manuscript critiques, fact-checking, developmental editing, and more. They not only correct spelling and grammar but also shape and polish your manuscript, making sure it is the best it can be.

Do professional authors have editors?

Yes, professional authors always work with editors. Even the best writers need a fresh set of eyes to review their work and provide feedback. Editors help ensure the final manuscript is polished and ready for publication.

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